Remembering Bill White – Founder of Bike Camp in Twin Bridges, Montana
Our friend Brock from The Sprocket Podcast is currently on tour and emailed us this photo the other day. It is a dry erase board from Bike Camp in Twin Bridges, Montana. I drew this little sketch nearly a YEAR ago and miraculously it has managed to not be erased all this time. “Bill” in the note is William White, the man who had the vision to create Bike Camp in Twin Bridges, Montana. It is one of the kind in the country. A purpose built structure for touring cyclists that includes a bathroom, shower, sink, repair stand, reference books and safe haven from mosquitoes. When we passed through there last year, we ran into Bill by pure luck in a coffee shop/curios store on the main drag. We spent the afternoon talking about how Bike Camp came about. He had been seeing touring cyclists passing through but not stopping in Twin Bridges. In his words, “it was like watching gold flow down the river.” He wanted to give them a a reason to stop in town so he lobbied and pulled money together (a lot of it was from his own coffers) and created Bike Camp.
In emailing Brock, he mentioned that Bill White passed away. It is strange to feel such sadness for someone we met so long ago and only spent a few hours with. But there are some people you meet that are so full of kindness, dreams and intelligence that though you only spend a few minutes or hours with them, they leave a lasting imprint on your life. Bill was one of those people. Bike Camp was a great example of his problem solving and his kindness working together. Its aim was not only to aid passing cyclists but also to give people a reason to stay and help support the economy of Twin Bridges. Though his work was localized in a small town, Bike Camp has reached and touched people from all over the US and the world. It is a beautiful and grand legacy in the guise of a humble wooden building.
A quick search on the internet and I found an obituary to William White in the Dillon newspaper. It does little justice to such a great personality. I’m a little late in learning the news but feel no less saddened by it. I thought it was important to share the news of his passing to the greater bike touring community. If you’ve had the pleasure of meeting Bill White or staying at Bike Camp in Twin Bridges, Montana, please leave a comment and I will compile them and pass it on to the chamber of commerce.
Thank you Bill White, a friend to all bike tourists.
William W. White
1948 – 2012
William W. White, 64, passed away peacefully on March 30, in Logan, Utah, after a year-long fight against melanoma.
He is survived by loving family and friends around the country.
Bill grew up in Manchester, south of Akron, Ohio. The family traveled every summer, and he fell in love with the West and fly fishing.
After high school, he headed to Utah State in Logan. A career in construction came next, with many years as a contractor in Santa Fe, N.M., where he was also chief of the volunteer fire department.
In between, he returned to Logan and earned his degree. After moving to Farmington, N.M., he built The River’s Edge fishing lodge, served as host to guests, and enjoyed fishing the San Juan.
He also fulfilled a dream of getting his pilot’s license and owning a small plane, Little Bird.
Back in Logan as Western Airtrails, Bill researched, authored, and self-published two books, The Santa Fe Trail By Air: A Pilots Guide to The Santa Fe Trail ,and The Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails by Air: A Pilot’s Guide to the Emigrant Trails.
He most recently lived in Twin Bridges, where he continued to enjoy flying and fishing. With the help of friends, Bill established the Twin Bridges Bicycle Campground. (www.cyclecamp-twinbridges.com).
Before the diagnosis in January 2011, he was planning to move to Boise, Idaho, to open a school teaching do-it-yourself home remodeling.
Along his route, Bill touched many lives. He left life the way he lived it, with creativity, energy, good humor, concern for others, and the never ending curiosity about what lies around the next bend.
Bill will be missed by those who loved him, and even those who didn’t.
There will be a gathering for Bill’s friends on Sunday, April 15, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., at the Twin Bridges Bike Camp, in Jesson Park.
Donations in memory of Bill can be made to The Friends of the Twin Bridges Library.